From Hawaii to New York, here are America’s top 10 beaches. 

By Talia Avakian
May 23, 2019

With its bright turquoise waters, white powder sands, and calm waters, Oahu’s Kailua Beach Park has just been named the best beach in America by 'Dr. Beach'.

Coastal scientist and Florida International University professor Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman has been ranking the best beaches across the country under the alias for almost 30 years, using 50 different factors to determine the top spots. 

Factors range from water cleanliness and temperature to sand softness, views and vistas offered, and safety. Kailua took the top spot thanks to its combination of gentle waves that make it ideal for families, available activities ranging from kayaking to paddleboarding, and its available facilities. 

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The area hosts lifeguards, free parking, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and volleyball courts along with kayak rentals, as kayaking to nearby offshore islands is a popular activity. Meanwhile, the nearby village of Kailua offers a range of restaurants and to-go options to take straight to the beach. 

Two other beaches in Hawaii made list: Oahu’s Duke Kahanamoku Beach in fifth place and the Big Island’s Hapuna Beach State Park in eighth place.

North Carolina's Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, which is Leatherman's personal favorite getaway beach, came in at second place, with Ocracoke Island hosting what Leatherman says are some of the country's "wildest beaches." 

Florida’s Grayton Beach State Park — a natural paradise filled with large sand dunes, emerald waters, and white sands — and New York’s Coopers Beach, a wide beach with white quartz sand and grass-covered dunes, rounded out the top five.

Below are the top 10 best beaches in America.

America's Top 10 Beaches: 

  1. Kailua Beach Park—Hawaii 
  2. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach—North Carolina 
  3. Grayson Beach State Park—Florida 
  4. Coopers Beach—New York 
  5. Duke Kahanamoku Beach—Hawaii 
  6. Coast Guard Beach — Massachusetts 
  7. Caladesi Island State Park — Florida 
  8. Hapuna Beach State Park —Hawaii 
  9. Coronado Beach —California
  10. Kiawah Beachwalker Park — South Carolina 

Leatherman, who had a love of sand from a young age and even had the largest backyard sand box in Charlotte, North Carolina at one point, has been traveling to beaches for years, eventually leading to the start of the list in 1991.